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Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

As he sat in the chair, sweating and shaking profusely, John had two choices: to either pass the test or get shot by his psycho dad…

John was a dull student, everyone knew that. Calling him an “F student” was an overstatement. And on this hot afternoon, as he sat in the exam room, John was faced with being expelled from school for the second time in two years.

His only saving grace was the essay test he had to write and pass. But the thing is, John didn’t know anything about writing good essays. And every time the thought of failing crossed his mind, he remembered his father’s shot gun at home.

His dad shot his elder brother, William, in the leg because he was suspended for two weeks for missing tests. Now, John faced the same fate. In fact, he could already feel his left leg throbbing from gunshot wounds. Ouch!

For John, staying in school and staying alive was his challenge—he just had to make it work. For you, however, there are bills to pay, a family to feed, a life to live and a business to run, but for some reason you’re not seeing any traction. The only thing that’s standing in your way is the ability to create just one epic blog post that would bring in all the sales you want. But the thing is, creating epic content isn’t one of your strong points, or so you think.

Anyone can create epic content, but for some it could take five to six hours just to write a 1,000 word blog post. And with the challenges in your life and business, you don’t have that luxury of time. So, what do you do?

Fill In the Gaps Using Content Frameworks

John was probably taught how to create good essays using frameworks, but I guess he didn’t pay attention during that class. So, this is your class and I’m you tutor…let’s get going.

Why should you use content frameworks? Because it works, period!

Actually, creating content that people want, in a way that they would appreciate it and see the value within, isn’t that simple. In any place you find yourself, there are rules governing your existence there. And as long as you abide by those rules, you’re safe.

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The same goes for the internet. In order to build an effective content marketing strategy for your business, there are rules that govern creating content for the internet. Some people know these rules and use them to their advantage to get more traffic, engagement, or sales. Others ignore these rules because they feel they are not important. You’re not one of them, are you?

A content framework gives you a “skeletal” structure that your content should follow if you really want to get results. And the good thing is that this structure makes creating content pretty fast because all you do is fill in the gaps.

Content frameworks are also flexible, meaning you can restructure them to suit your business and your kind of audience.

How to Use Content Frameworks

Now this is the part that John would have wished he knew.

Back in high school, you were taught that articles have to follow a basic outline:

Title of the article ———– Introduction ———– Body ———– Conclusion

Well, the good thing is that it still follows the same outline. Only it looks somewhat like this:

content frameworks infographic

    It looks simple, right? Let’s break it up:

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    1. The Title or Headline

    Your headline should be able to make the reader decide whether to read your content or just pass by. It should start selling to your reader what’s in your content even before they start reading the introduction.

    Now the thing is you may not get the headline right every time. I also mess it up sometimes. But with practice, you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll get easier.

    If there’s nothing else online that has formulas to work with, headlines do. So, I really won’t go into that here. Here are a few great resources that will help you create headlines that rock:

    How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Brian Clark

    101 Headline Formulas by Peter Sandeen

    52 Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow

    2. The Introduction

    The introduction is the next step in drawing in your reader. If you got it right in your headline and your introduction is crap, then that content has failed. Your content will only bring results if the reader gets to the end of it and follows the instructions in your call to action.

    So, what goes into the introduction to make it work?

    Nothing much: Just a simple, compelling story that lights up your reader’s brain and keeps them glued to their screens. But like everything else, stories have structures.

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    As you have seen in the diagram, you start your introduction with a hook.

    What’s a hook? This is simply a statement in your story or about your article that is compelling enough to make the reader move to the next sentence. That’s the only purpose. Get this right and you’ll see your “Average time on site” in your analytics increase by an extra few seconds.

    After the hook comes the real story from the beginning. It is important to note that your story has guidelines as well:

    1. It must not be disconnected from the hook.

    2. It should state the problem that your reader is facing. And then focus on that problem.

    3. It should have a main character, which could be your reader or a fictional character with a name.

    4. Give specific details in your story. Saying, “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” wouldn’t have the same effect as saying, “Humpty Dumpty fell off a six-foot fence and lost his left leg.”

    After the story comes the “conclusion to the introduction.” This is where you give your reader hope that his or her problem can be solved. You gradually hint at the solution, without explicitly stating it. Just keep them hanging in there.

    3. The Body

    The real value of your content is in the body. The information that could turn the life of your reader around should be found in the body. For example, what you’re reading now is in the body of this post.

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    So what goes into the body of your content to make it work?

    Simple: A subheadline and a whole lot of value!

    The subheadline is simply a continuation of what you finished off with in your introduction. In a few words it briefly explains what you’re about to teach your audience. The body of this article started with, “Fill in the gaps using content frameworks.” For me, I particularly use it to answer a question I ask at the end of the introduction.

    After the subheadline comes a brief introduction to what you’re about to teach the reader and then you go to the main points. Depending on the kind of article you’re writing, you could separate your main points using bullets (if it’s a list article), or break them up as subheadlines as well. In this post, I combined the two methods.

    4. The Conclusion

    Your conclusion must do two things: Assure the reader that he or she has the solution and help him or her to take action.

    So what goes into the conclusion?

    Three things: A summary of the content, what the reader should expect when he or she takes action, and then your call to action (what the reader should do next to take action). If you started your content with a story, you should also end it here. What does this mean? It means you’re about to find out whether John got shot by his dad or not!

    It’s important to note that every part of your content must communicate value to the reader and must be connected. By making your introductory story flow into the body and also into the conclusion, you lead the reader on a journey that would finally end on your site. That’s some extra traffic juice. And the good thing is that you can make this a consistent habit by always using content frameworks to create your content. It’ll not only add more value to your audience, but also to your pocket and lifestyle.

    Too bad John didn’t know about frameworks and how to use them to create good essays. But the good thing is that he didn’t get shot by his father. That was a huge relief…for a moment. The bad thing is his dad used a sledge hammer instead!

    But unlike John, you know how to use content frameworks. So use it to create epic content that cuts down your writing time to one hour or less.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious

    How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious

    Overwhelmed with work, family responsibilities, financial challenges and health issues are common culprits which catalyze stress and anxiety symptoms that show up differently in each and every one of us.

    Whilst many of us are becoming much better at identifying what can trigger us to feel these, we’re not always that great at recognizing our individual thresholds; we don’t know exactly how to calm down when the mental, emotional storms erupt.

    We can almost see you eye-rolling upon hearing commonly recommended stress antidotes such as taking a bath, lighting candles or going for a walk. Let’s face it. These simply aren’t practical things you can do when you’re on a red-eye flight at 5:30am to run a full day of training interstate and then fly back the same evening not to mention juggling a young family.

    You want to know your triggers, predict the impact of them and have your own suite of tools up your sleeve to calm down that impact for the long-term.

    Doing a little ground work to gain a strong self-awareness of your likely reactions puts you smack bang in the pilot seat to develop a robust mental and emotional toolkit that will work wonders for you.

    A few simple but well-practiced techniques may be all you need to simmer down the cyclonic intensity of emotions, and disparaging thoughts pecking away at your self-esteem and confidence. However, it’s important you do this self-reflective groundwork first to gain maximum impact for long-term effect.

    1. Strengthen Familiarity with What Triggers You

    When you have arguments with your loved one, do you stop and look to see if there are certain things you fight about? Are there certain behaviors they display that drive you bananas?

    Take your focus off them and ask yourself: “What is my usual response?”

    Perhaps you feel the anger welling up inside your chest and you then spurt out that you’ve told him or her ten times before to not leave their underwear lying across the bedroom floor.

    Think a little deeper. Ask yourself what values, standards and expectations you have that are not being met here. You’ll likely be attached to certain ways you believe things should play out. Are there assumptions and expectations as to how you believe people should conduct themselves and principles about how you feel you should be treated?

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    Having a strong attachment to these for yourself is one thing. Expecting others to have the same attachment is often what can make the hot water start simmering.

    It is often when people behave in ways inconsistent with our belief systems and events unfold in discord with what we expect and are prepared for that we feel the most stress and anxiety.

    Make a list of the common circumstances in different areas of your life that cause you to become anxious and stressed. Against each of these, describe your stress response:

    What happens? What do you feel?

    Now think about the values, principles and expectations you have attached to these. You’ll see you have a few options:

    • Change my values and expectations
    • Try to change other’s values and expectations
    • Recognize and be in allowance of others having different values, standards and expectations

    Reviewing how you react when you’re stressed and anxious, and identifying which of these three options above is going to best serve you, can greatly increase your ability to feel and be in control of calming your reaction.

    You move closer to being able to choose how you want to respond as opposed to feeling helpless and the world is spiralling out of control.

    2. Have Coping Statements on Hand

    When you have a washing machine of chaotic thoughts churning in your mind, trying to implant thoughts that are the complete opposite of what you’re thinking and feeling can be pretty hard.

    Not being able to do it can also add another layer of us feeling disappointment in ourselves. We feel we’re failing.

    Having coping statements that you can literally latch on to to help you calm down in those stressful and anxious moments, can be particularly helpful.

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    Look at creating palm cards and just have three to five of these you can have in your pocket or in your purse. Here are 6 examples:

    • Even though I am feeling this right now, I am going to be alright
    • What I am feeling right now is uncomfortable. I won’t feel this way forever. Soon the intensity of what I am feeling will pass.
    • I’ve survived these feelings before. I can do it again.
    • I feel this way because of my past experiences but right now, I am actually safe.
    • It’s ok for me to feel this way. My body and brain are trying to protect me but I am actually safe right now.
    • Ah, here you are again, anxiety. Thanks for showing up to protect me, but I don’t need you right now.

    Choose words and dialogue that feel true and accurate for you. Read the statements out to yourself and test how fitting they are for you. What feels more assuring, calming and right for you?

    Make these statements your own. The aim is of these statements is to de-escalate the intensity of what you feel when you’re anxious and stressed.

    Remember, you want to refrain from having blunt statements which feel or sound like they’re self-reprimanding because they won’t be pacifying in a positive way.

    If you are unsure as to how to come up with statements that fit for you, look to work with a psychologist or licensed therapist to give you a strong start.

    3. Identify and Develop Physical Anchors

    You actually have within you resources to provide some of the most effective ways to calm yourself down in heightened moments you feel stressed and anxious. Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Peter Levine and expert in treating stress and trauma, teaches us how techniques which do this, such as Somatic Experiencing®[1] can significantly help us calm down.

    By learning to be fully present and applying touch to certain areas of your body (e.g. forehead and heart space), you increase your capacity to self-regulate. You also learn how to attend to and release your unique symptoms that your body has been containing in a way you have not been able to before.

    Here’s one technique example:

    1. Get in a comfortable position
    2. Have your eyes open or closed, whatever feels most comfortable for you
    3. Now place one hand on your forehead, palm side flat against the skin
    4. Place the other hand, palm down across your heart space above your sternum… the flat of your chest area.
    5. Gently turn your attention to what you feel physically in the area between your two hands. Observe and just take notice of what you physically feel. Is your chest pounding? How strong are its beat and the rhythm? Do you notice any other sensations anywhere else between your two hands?
    6. Don’t try to push or resist what you’re feeling. Try to just sit with it and remain this way with your hands in place until you feel a shift, a physical one. It might take a little longer, so try to be patient.

    You might feel a change in energy flow, a change in temperature or different, less intense sensations. Just keep your hands in place until you feel some kind of shift, even if gradual.

    It might take you even 5 to 10 minutes but, riding this wave will help you to process what discomfort your body is containing. It will greatly help to release it so you gradually become calmer.

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    Purely cognitive exercises can be tough at the outset. Learning somatic experience techniques is particularly helpful because you’re engaging in exercises where you physically can feel the difference. Feeling the changes helps you increase confidence you can control and reduce the discomfort you’re feeling. You’ll be motivated to keep practicing and improving this skill you can take anywhere, anytime.

    4. Move and Get Physical

    If you’re not one to exercise, you’re robbing yourself of some very easy ways which help you calm down and reduce stress and anxiety responses. Many neuro chemical changes take place when you engage in exercise.

    At certain levels of physical exertion, your brain’s pituitary gland releases neurotransmitter endorphins. When they bind with certain opiate receptors in your brain, signals are transmuted throughout your nervous system to reduce feelings of pain and trigger feelings of euphoria. You might have heard the term ‘runner’s high’.

    For the last 20 years, University of Missouri-Columbia’s Professor Richard Cox has conducted research showing that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at reducing anxiety and stress levels than other forms of aerobic exercise.[2] However, if you would rather slay dragons than turn up an F45 class, it’s essential you still find something that will physically shift you and alter your current mental and emotional state of mind, even just a fraction to start with. It’s 100% ok if this is not your cup of tea.

    So in a day full of back of back-to-back meetings, what can you do?

    If you’re sitting, stand. Change your posture and open your body up. Have a suite of discrete stretches you can do regularly as you deepen and engage in diaphragmatic breathing.

    If you’re looking down at your desk at work and feeling increasingly stressed, look up and change what you’re looking at. Give yourself more than a few moments to decompress.

    The main thing is to change your disposition from the one you’re in when you are experiencing anxiety and stress symptoms. You’re shaking it up to calm it down.

    5. Transform Your Unhelpful Inner Dialogue and Its Energy

    Learning cognitive restructuring techniques can truly work wonders in helping you recognize and re-frame unhelpful dialogue and negative critical thinking patterns. This involves a little preparation being transparent with yourself about what exaggerated perspectives you might ascribe to what’s happening when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.

    When you open your email inbox and see a flood of requests which require more time and energy you have for that day, dread starts to settle in and the following comes to mind: “This is impossible. How can they expect me to be able to do all this? It’s completely unreasonable!”

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    Instantly, many other thoughts that reinforce this line of thinking as well as the emotional energy of your first conscious thought start unravelling. A 4-step process you can engage to calm the eruption is:

    1. Catch and notice that first thought you had. What was it? What did you think and/or say to yourself?
    2. Recognize that what you’re feeling and be in allowance of the initial intensity of whatever those emotions are.
    3. Breath deliberately a little more deeply and slowly for a few seconds.
    4. State to yourself: “Right now (in this moment) I’m feeling overwhelmed by this, however maybe I can look at what I can make good progress and headway with as a start from here on.”

    Notice the language in step 4 is tentative, supportive, soft and not resistant nor defiant of what your original thought was. You accept your original thought, but gradually you become stronger at pivoting it.[3] You’re expanding your growth mindset language.

    It’s definitely worth working with a coach or trained therapist to learn how to tailor re-framing statements which can truly help you calm down.

    Final Thoughts

    We know, in our minds what we should do. When we’re in the thick of experiencing mental and emotional turmoil, it’s actually harder to implement what we know. In those moments, you’re unlikely to have capacity to think about what you need to do, let alone do it effectively to help you feel calmer.

    The key is to practice so that when the storm is brewing, your toolkit and supplies are in easy access. You already know your safety drill well.

    Knowing you have strategies and prepared processes up your sleeves helps you not only become better at calming yourself in amongst currently stressful situations. You have more confidence now to face more anxiety-provoking stressors because you have developed the resources to handle it.

    How you invest time and energy into getting to know your triggers and thresholds will influence how effective these strategies will work for you. We’re not denying relaxing baths or regular massages are helpful, however these band-aid-like solutions don’t really confront the root causes.

    If you truly want to turn your experience of your stress and anxiety symptoms around, dig deeper, do the groundwork and that which rattled your cage will quickly become a thing of the past.

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    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

    Reference

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